Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Too Small a Thing

And now the LORD says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
Isaiah 49:6

Why is it "too small a thing" for Jesus to save only the Jews? Why does God insists, even as far back as this Old Testament prophecy predicting Christ as the Suffering Servant, that His salvation must reach the "ends of the earth?"

There are many reasons. For one, God is no respecter of persons. He loves all the nations and offers forgiveness to all. Here's another, no one people group is any more deserving of God's free grace than another. But in his book entitled Let the Nations be Glad, John Piper draws our attention to a reason that we often overlook. He argues that God is more glorified by saving people from every nation, tribe and tongue than He would be simply by saving a large number from a few people groups. Why is it more glorifying to God to ensure His salvation reaches the ends of the earth?

First, if He is God of all, then He deserves praise from all. How can He be the one true God, the Creator of all the earth if He is worshiped by only one people group? It doesn't fit. The one true God deserves to be worshiped by all. God deserves to be praised in Swahili. He is worthy of adoration in French, Books ought to be written about His greatness in Farsi.

Second, different people groups and cultures worship God in different ways. God is too diverse in His beauty, character and excellence for any one people group to reflect back to Him all the worship He deserves. Piper puts it this way. "More depth of beauty is felt from a choir that sings in parts than from a choir that sings only in unison. Unity in diversity is more beautiful and more powerful than the unity of uniformity" (Piper p.222). Our worship is inherently more beautiful when it is offered by a diverse body of believers. 

Third, it shows the greatness of God's true worth. "The fame and greatness and worth of an object of beauty increases in proportion to the diversity of those who recognize its beauty. If a work of art is regarded as great among a small and like-minded group of people but not by anyone else, the art is probably not truly great. Its qualities are such that it does not appeal to the deep universals in our hearts but only to provincial biases. But if a work of art continues to win more and more admirers not only across cultures but also across decades and centuries, then its greatness is irresistibly manifested" (Piper p.222). 

This means that you and I must do more than simply worship God in the way that best fits our culture and skin color. We ought to pray for the gospel to reach unreached people groups. And we should push the gospel to the ends of the earth by giving to missions, going on mission trips, and encouraging our churches to become more ethnically diverse. Let's make Jesus' name great at home and to the ends of the earth because He is worthy of all worship! 

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